Saints Before the Vanishing Point

small ensemble

Premiered in 1990 by [who?] [where?]
Published by Chez Vees Music (formerly Leisure Planet Music)

Saints Before the Vanishing Point deals with the idea of “the solo” and its relationship to the accompanying material. Each player has a solo, but none utilize the standard hierarchy of foreground soloist, background sonic mattress of the ensemble. Instead, each solo has its own set of game rules which establishes varying degrees of control between soloist and group. Also, every solo has some shared rules, some unique rules, and some inverted rules with regard to all the other solos.

The title refers to my impression of the pre-Renaissance style of painting in which the normal rules of perspective had not yet been formularized. The artists draw the viewer’s attention to the various figures within the frame by using a different set of sensibilities and rules than we expect from later works. The lack of a scientific approach to depth perception in this era is really no lack at all. In fact, I find these pictures are even more profoundly moving because this archaic approach engages a set of perceptual tools, ways of seeing, that are ancient, but not obsolete.

From the Composer: